The Presidency on Friday insisted that the Federal Government did not pay members of the Boko Haram sect to secure freedom for the 21 Chibok girls.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the position of government remains that cash was not involved in the release.
“Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told the country that there was no cash involvement in the release of the 21 Chibok girls. If you have evidence that it was not so, simply produce it,” he said.
However, one of the lawmakers involved in the negotiation which led to the release of the 21 girls, confirmed that a ransom was paid to Boko Haram but said the amount was far less than $50m.
The source, who expressed shock when one of our correspondents put the question to him to confirm the payment, agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.
He said, “I don’t think it is up to that amount. Yes, there was a deal. Something like that (payment of a ransom) happened but it was never near the amount you just mentioned; it is even not up to a quarter of that amount. I can tell you that it was done (paid).
“I can also tell you that the second round of the talk was scuttled because of the disagreement on the next tranche of a ransom. The negotiation for another batch of the girls has hit the brick wall as a result of the failure to agree on an amount (to be paid as a ransom). I am speaking to you on this authoritatively.”